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Geisinger and Celera to collaborate on liver disease test
Date:2/19/2008

DANVILLE, PA and ALAMEDA, CA February 19, 2008 Geisinger Health System and Celera (NYSE:CRA), an Applera Corporation business, today announced that they have entered into a research collaboration with the aim of developing a diagnostic assay for the increased risk of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The collaboration will evaluate Celeras numerous genetic findings in liver diseases, including the Cirrhosis Risk Score, in the Geisinger bank of more than 600 liver tissue and blood case-control samples donated from patients who have undergone bariatric weight loss surgery. The Geisinger biorespository is among the largest of its kind within a research setting. Financial terms of this multi-year collaboration were not disclosed.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition where there is accumulation of excess fat in the liver. NAFLD is usually asymptomatic and, as a result, many people dont know they have the condition until substantial liver damage has occurred. NASH represents an advanced stage of the disease when the accumulated fat results in significant inflammation and scarring. This occurs in approximately a quarter of the patients and can lead to cirrhosis. Ultimately, a liver transplant may be required. Knowledge of those individuals most likely to suffer from this advanced disease could enable closer monitoring of these individuals, leading to overall improved disease management.

NAFLD is linked to metabolic syndrome characterized by diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. The American College of Gastroenterology estimates that NAFLD affects 2 to 5 percent of Americans and 10 to 20 percent of those who are obese. Elevated serum aminotransferase levels and evidence of insulin resistance are suggestive of early stages of the disease with ultrasound and liver biopsy used in the diagnosis of the disease.

Even though there are no approved medications for the treatment of NAFLD/ NASH, clinicians strongly enc
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Contact: Patti Urosevich
570-271-7441
Geisinger Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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